Semantic based learning of syntax in an autonomous robot

Matthew McClain, Stephen Levinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It is the goal of the Language Acquisition Group at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (LAR-UIUC) to build a robot that is able to learn language as well as humans through embodied sensori-motor interaction with the physical world. This paper proposes cognitive structures to enable an autonomous robot to learn the syntax of two-word sentences using its understanding of lexical semantics. A production rule of syntax in Chomsky Normal Form will be explicitly represented using a hidden Markov Model. Results of robotic experiments show that these models can learn representations of syntax in this form and that they can be used to produce novel sentences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)321-346
Number of pages26
JournalInternational Journal of Humanoid Robotics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2007


  • Machine language acquisition
  • Robotics
  • Semantics
  • Syntax

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Artificial Intelligence


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